Just as injured Daniel Briere and Scottie Upshall look to make their return, the Flyers hit another injury snag.
Early in the first period of the 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night, Simon Gagne was hit awkwardly into the boards by Kevin Bieksa and came up gripping his shoulder. The injury was listed as an upper body injury, forcing Gagne to miss the rest of the contest. What was initially feared as a separated shoulder that would keep Gagne out months, was listed as just a sprain that will put the nine-year Flyer on the bench only 7-10 days. Gagne has 18 goals and 22 assists in 36 games this season and is ranked 13th in the NHL in points with 40.
Arron Asham also missed Tuesday’s game with what is listed as a slight knee injury. He is day-to-day and will be a game-time decision Friday night, when the Flyers take on the Anaheim Ducks.
Rookie prospect Claude Giroux scored his first NHL assist 3:16 into the first period, when his pass landed on the stick of Matt Carle, who pushed it to Jeff Carter for the opening goal of the game. With the loss of Gagne, Giroux moved up to the first line, next to Mike Richards and Mike Knuble and did not look out of place.
Rookie Jon Kalinski scored his first NHL goal, putting the puck past reserve goaltender Cory Schneider. The Minnesota State grad’s goal late in the second period ended up being the game-winner.
After dropping a 5-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night, the Flyers soon found out they had lost more than just the game, they also lost some important personnel. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell will both miss the first leg of the western road trip with fairly serious lowerbody injuries.
After taking a late hit from veteran Bobby Holik in the Flyers’ 3-2 overtime loss against the Devils on Sunday, Flyers’ forward Scottie Upshall limped off the ice and never returned. The injury was initially listed as a mild knee sprain, but the severity was not known. On Monday, Upshall had the knee evaluated and the result was a 10-14 day trip to the injured reserve.
The Flyers announced Monday, that injured defenseman Randy Jones has been cleared by team doctors to play as soon as Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche at the Wachovia Center. Jones, 27, suffered a torn labrum in his hip joint at the tail end of preseason and has yet to play a game this season.
Just hours after Tampa Bay put him on waivers, hockeybuzz.com reported that the Flyers have shown interest in veteran Chris Gratton off the waiver wire, to fill in as fourth-line center. Gratton is on waivers until noon Tuesday, and can not be claimed before that time, but it is unlikely a move could be made due to the cap restraints on the Flyers.
The 33-year old center tallied 33 hits, with no goals and two assists in 18 games played this season. Gratton was a Philadelphia Flyer from 1997-1999 and scored 23 goals and 47 assists in 108 games in the orange and black. He is also the cousin of Flyers/Phantoms’ enforcer Josh Gratton.
By the time the New Jersey Devils scored the overtime game winner on Thursday, the Flyers’ bench was looking empty. Top forward Simon Gagne and top defenseman Kimmo Timonen both left the ice in yesterday’s contest and did not return. On top of missing Matt Carle to back spasms and the combination of Ryan Parent and Randy Jones on the injured reserve all ready, the Flyers have little to no room to face more injuries.
Danny Briere is not having an ideal year. After missing 14 games with a sports hernia, turn severe groin pull, Briere was rushed back onto the ice after admitting he was not feeling 100-percent. The result: Another groin strain, but according to the Flyers, it’s unrelated to the original one, but will keep the 31-year old out 4-5 weeks.